There are certain things we take as gospel in sports because that’s how they have always been done, and when it comes to our approach to hitting in softball, we are no exception.
At the recent Hitting Summit, we took on some common myths about hitting to see if these are fact or fiction.
This past week we held our 4th Annual Hitting Summit, virtually. We had over 130 coaches attend our Summit listening to Justin Shults from the University of Oregon, Stacey Nuveman Deniz from San Diego State and Michael Lotief formerly from University of Louisiana Lafayette. All 3 of these great hitting coaches talked us through their Hitting Approach.
Hearing 3 different personalities and approaches to the same topic was super helpful and fascinating.
Just as with the Pitching Summit, we took 3 polls within the Hitting Summit to learn more about what our attendees thought about common hitting issues.
Our Hitting Summit audience was made up of 83% college coaches and 17% Travel Ball, High School and Private Pitching Instructors. We also had 7 NCAA Division I National Championships within the audience so when you read the following questions, consider that the answers are coming from coaches that have succeeded at the highest level.
Poll Questions #1 – With All the Tech Devices Available Now for Hitting, How Much Time per Week Do You Spend Using Tech with Your Hitters:
What This Means: This question shows, that while tech devices are growing increasingly popular, it doesn’t mean you should spend all your hitting time using them. More than half of our attendees only use their tech devices for an hour or less per week. And these coaches have the budgets to have ALL the expensive, fancy tech and still they use it a small percentage of the time. Tech is tricky because it’s super popular and as coaches, we don’t want to be left out. But know that you don’t have to spend all your practice time using these cool devices. Use them based on your level of comfort with technology and then know they’re simply a means of feedback.
Poll Questions #2 – Where Do You Hit Your BEST Hitter in the Lineup?
What This Means: Conventional wisdom has always told us to hit our best hitter in the “cleanup” position, or 4th in the lineup. This poll says not 1 single person thinks that’s true. The 3rd slot is the majority winner, but what I find interesting, is that the second place answer was leadoff! 24% of coaches put their best hitter hitting leadoff. The upside is this forces the opponents to pitch to her but the downside is there’s nobody on base when this hitter does damage. That’s why the 3rd hole is a very common spot for the best hitter – it allows for runners to possibly be on base, and over the course of the season, the 3rd hitter will hit 20-30 times more than the cleanup hitter. The lower down the lineup the less these hitters come to the plate. So move your best hitters up your lineup so you don’t rob them of plate appearances.
Poll Questions #3 – Which Hitting Quality is the MOST Important to You in Preparing Your Hitters?
What This Means: In every youth softball game I watch every coach is constantly shouting mechanic instructions to their hitters. In the dugout, in the batter’s box and in between pitches. It’s a constant barrage of mechanics, and yet, only 5% of the 132 attendees said Mechanics was the MOST important. Sure, they matter, but not more than mental approach and timing. Consider this, your hitters can have perfect mechanics, but if they aren’t strong mentally and have horrible timing there’s a HUGE chance they’re going to struggle like crazy! If you can build up their belief that they can hit a ball and do damage, and then help them time her swing to the pitcher – then you’re going to have some excellent hitters. Whether their mechanics are solid or not.
If you weren’t able to sign up for the virtual Hitting Summit – don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! All the great information presented at the virtual Hitting Summit will soon be available in the Hitting Summit and Combo Summit Vaults!
And if you love learning about hitting and want more, you’ll love the Hitting Summit Vault. The Hitting Summit Vault provides over 11 hours of video instruction and over 130 downloadable print-ready notes from the top hitting minds in the country including Mike Candrea, Tim Walton, Carol Hutchins, Karen Weekly, and so many more! And we are always adding new content, free of charge to current Hitting Summit Vault Members. Become a Hitting Summit Vault member today!